HUNTING LEGENDS IS A GROUP OF PEOPLE NOT ONLY PASSIONATE ABOUT HUNTING, HOWEVER, ALSO ABOUT LIVING THE LEGEND!
Welcome to the Dark Continent of Africa and our beloved country. Still considered by many as a mysterious and romantic getaway for the brave and adventurous of heart.
A Continent which has seen a lot of change over the decades and seems to be winning the race against time again.
After all – “the World may have invented the watch, however, Africa owns the time”.
Pondering on history and how I came about, I thought it true to my cause to share some of my history and experiences with you. I considered it appropriate to write down these reflections on the past, before senility stales my memory, without which the past cannot exist. They are true to reality if that condition is to be consistent with the order of things as I saw it. I invariably arrive at a point where the sands of time had not yet shown any footprints. No clearly defined mental experience could be recalled.
Then as in a moment of magic the veil is lifted, actual memory begins and also life. I can remember the exact moment from where the chain of my thoughts began. It happened in the beautiful Low-veldt area of South Africa where I grew up.
An area which has stood the test of time and is winning the race against human greed.
I can understand exactly how old time cattle ranchers of the American West must have felt when the small time homesteaders moved in and destroyed the virgin range. For several decades I have watched with helpless frustration and great sadness, how many of my beloved African bush-veldt was destroyed.
The waves of small time invaders of my Eden for some or other unknown reason thought it sound agricultural practice to pit their energies into battle against nature in the early 1930’s. They unnecessarily hacked off century old trees where it could have been avoided. The bigger the tree they removed so it seemed, the better farmers would they be regarded as. At nighttime the skies were lit up by the fires set to burn down the bush. I came to the sickening conclusion that these sod-busters had as their primary ambition only to see how much of nature they could destroy..
Most of them did not make it. They left behind a ravaged land with wrecked machinery lying all over and had the temerity to call themselves pioneers. If wholesale demolishing of pristine nature could be called productive and total destruction of the vast game herds be seen as virtuous then I piss on the word pioneer.
And then came the second wave of sodbusters. They continued where the so-called pioneers had stopped. They also for some unknown reason started planting alien trees like Jacaranda, Syringa and Eucalyptus where once stood majestic indigenous giants of unsurpassed beauty. They polluted our once clear rivers, shot at Monkeys, colorful bird, Vultures, Fish Eagles, Secretary birds and Hippos for what they called sports, killed Leguans because they were “dangerous” while boasting at how many Bushbuck and Duikers they could shoot on their bean patch in one night.
All in all I was left with a finely honed hatred for these ‘so-called pioneers’. These events, more than any other factor eventually set me on the road to nature conservation.
Then came the 1970’s and again a new breed descended on the beautiful low-veldt. For those amongst you who do not know the name Low-veldt, it is the North Eastern part of South Africa and includes the World renowned Kruger National Park.
But, back to our story. These men of the 70’s, were mostly people who had made their fortunes in the cities and from those unholy places probably evolved a yearning to experience for themselves the work of God.
The law of greed dictated that their properties should be protected from outsiders. Thus began the great fencing boom. Contractors made fortunes by isolating even smallholdings with barbed wire and cable barricades.
The townies were happy. If you have 3000 acres of fenced in game land it is amazing to see how rapidly your animals multiply, and by golly how tame they seem to get. Even guests on the back of your game viewing Land Rover would be most impressed and whisper to each other, “Wow, old Jan isn’t just a wizard in banking but see how he can organize things down here as well.”
The weather pattern in Northern South Africa is at most times reasonably stable and predictable. Dry winters with summer rains falling from November to March. Its variations of design were just enough to provide people with nothing else to say, a chance at conversation.
I talked to some of the old people in the area who shared a similar curiosity and I studied my own observations. Over the years a weather pattern other than the seasonal ones emerged. It indicated ten year cycles which culminated in severe drought during the first two years of each decade.
Nineteen seventy one proved to be such a dry year, as well as nineteen seventy two. These and several droughts thereafter, costs the townies dearly. They soon realized that if you cannot control the weather as well, it would avail to naught if one seeks to improve on the works of God. Game trapped behind fences began to die in such numbers that the stench of rotting carcasses carried on the wind for miles around.
The catastrophe prompted some rather hasty negotiations among effected parties. Most of the offending barriers were removed, once more at great cost to the townies and handsome profits for fencing contractors who had to undo their erstwhile industry.
A semblance of relative normality with regards to the natural migratory habits of game animals resulted as well as the establishment of some fine private nature reserves, suitably proportioned in size and with balanced habitat. As with the rising sun that brings comfort after some distressing night, gradually an awareness began to emerge among some concerned inhabitants. The very soul of our beautiful African bush was at stake, but as nature conservation appeared to be such a vague moral concept, it remained for most people exactly that.
Then in the 80’s, aid towards the cause came from an unexpected source namely commerce, its erstwhile enemy number one. Tourism and hunting had rapidly grown into such big businesses that agriculture soon took second place. The custody of nature had for the first time in the African history become its prime raison d’etre.
With the formation of new game reserves on erstwhile cattle ranches and removal of the Kruger Park’s western boundary fences, the call for ‘back to nature’ had become irreversible.
It is to such nature reserves that you are now invited to come and hunt with us, and the primary reserve being “The Valley of the Kings Thabazimbi”. The reserve is a privately owned reserve and belongs to local South African business men and a Royal family member of the Middle East. An indication of the caliber of investment-power supporting the cause of nature conservation in Africa today. It is to these “now royal hunting grounds” which you are invited to for the best hunting and African adventure you will ever experience.
The sole purpose of this introductory sketch is thus an attempt at conveying to readers my sympathies at the time; a portrayal of of my emotional reaction towards distressing human influences on the natural order. Though naive at the time, I still to this day subscribe to the honesty of that “young man beliefs” and I surely hope that the character in my book would be regarded as true to such a type.
“A LIVING LEGEND” VAN REENEN VAN VUUREN
HUNTING LEGENDS AFRICA is not just another hunting outfitter, its a business built on passion, commitment to our cause and a firm belief that we can make a change in life for the better of our children:
- We are passionate about our history and the great legends who played a vital role in our world.
- We are committed to giving back to the world, more than we harvest from it; and
- We have a strong belief that we can and will change our future for the better of our children.
Our very name “HUNTING LEGENDS AFRICA”, spells out our almost feverish passion for the giants in our history, however, we believe it also sets the stage for our own commitment to being better than average. Legends such as Van Reenen Van Vuuren not only encourages us to protect our own natural resources but also inspires us to be better than average, to excel and to prosper. at what we do. Contrary to many extreme conservationists, Van Reenen believes that professional hunting plays a vital role in conservation and recognizes the importance of the hunters role in the greater picture.
A greater picture perhaps, where many people believe that money is the root to all evil. We however believe that the lack of money is the cause to even greater evil. Hence we value every penny spent by our hunters, as this money has and will continue to be put to good use. Conserving our own future and the natural settings we conduct our very livelihoods on, does not come cheap and without the loyal support of International Hunters who visit us year after year, these would not be possible. Your money not only creates very valuable jobs, infrastructure and support, but also gives back to nature much more than we reap from it.
We pay tribute to true legends such as Van Reenen Van Vuuren and also to you, the customer who comes to Africa and spends your hard earned cash with us. Private nature reserves and hunting concessions are now growing rapidly and there are fewer and fewer animal species on the endangered lists. All this because of people who remain passionate about nature and wildlife.
Without people to look up to, who are willing and able to guide the younger generation, we certainly would have had a bleaker future. People and Legends such as Van Reenen not only become patrons of our cause but drive our future by sharing their own experiences and mistakes made in the past.
On reading the exploits of others who have been blessed by a life of romantic pursuit, hunting in Africa and across the World, more than often one would experience some pang of envy and discontent towards fate which dealt you such a barren hand.
If Big Game Hunters and authors of these “Real African Hunting Journals”, are deserving of your mental state they could by clever manipulation convey you to the sphere of their world. You would be as clay in their creative hands. They could by the wizardry of their art drift into your mind and with ingeniously penned words expose to you the fantasies of your own imagination.
Wether your author is of a historical turn and a stickler for absolute cold facts or if he wishes to omit certain peculiarities of the hero’s character while embellishing some of his finer attributes, is for you to decide.
What romantic image is not connected to the name Henry Morton Stanley? A sketch at the time pictures a manly figure clad in rough dungarees with a revolver, knife and compass at the hip. A firm hand shields eyes that scrutinize the horizon with unflinching resolve. Animals in menacing disposition, altogether ignored by the dauntless explorer lurk in the background.
Who cares if Stanley spent the greater part of his young life as an orphan in a charitable house and had shocking table manners? The power of positive thinking would certainly as well make one ignore the fact the he was as mean as hell, selfishly ambitious, had a surly temperament and a very obvious sense of humor.
Enough is that a few incidents of relative short duration in his life time had secured for him a niche in history as well as endearment to armchair romantics.
Notwithstanding the questionable nature of these achievements and his rather unsavory personal esteem, Stanley (like others) suddenly found himself hero to the reading classes, a knight of that cleverly manipulated press machine.
The American public was swept up by the romantic mood of their times and clamored for news from the Dark Continent. The papers with Stanley as their champion made the most of it and had a field day at creating a revered and respected idol. Van Reenen Van Vuuren
Hunting Legends Africa pays tribute to these hero’s of the time, idols and adventurers who swept across Africa, amazed the World at their skills and bravery, and left us with written memoirs of their accomplishments.
Unlike many companies of our time, we too are suckers of romanticism, embellish the traditions of the past and strive to be different in our approach to an excellent and fulfilling life of hunting in this, still, Dark Continent.
Through the years we have collected and read some of the best books on Hunting and Africa that you will find in the world. Books which share with us the experiences and tales of great men and women. Real Legends who have lived their dream. One such a Legend we wish to pay tribute too, is Van Reenen Van Vuuren born on the 22nd of November 1938. Extracts of his own book LEBOMBO JOURNALS have been used in this article.
Van Reenen Van Vuuren grew up in the Free State, Lowveldt, Rhodesia but, in his words – “as well experienced pleasant temporary habitation at a variety of obscure public amenities.”
As well as game ranger, tobacco farmer hired gun and artist, he also set out to prove that nothing could really be proven wrong.
He now lives and writes on the banks of the mighty Olifants river near Hoedpsruit in South Africa.
We can highly recommend the book – LEBOMBO JOURNALS by Van Reenen Van Vuuren, as he will wisk you away in time and share with you, as only he can, his vivid recollection of his past. A passionate conservationist, acclaimed artist and legend of a wild Africa frontier. Most of the Africa Legends have passed on and we are all fortunate and blessed that the legend, Van Reenen Van Vuuren is still with us in this world and as strong as ever.
Not only is it a privilege to know and work with such a legend, but also to be able to own autographed copies of his memoirs. You too can share in this privilege by ordering your copy of the LEBOMBO Journals today. To do this you can contact Van Reenen and Agnes Van Vuuren directly at:
Van Reenen van Vuuren
Tel: +27 82 677 1179
Visit our BOOKS ON REAL HUNTING LEGENDS BELOW for more interesting and informative lessons, stories and thrilling adventures on AFrica and it’s abundant wildlife.
Because we are intent on giving our customers the best experience of their own and share with them all the knowledge and experiences we can muster, we have created this special section of the website, in which we will share with you our knowledge and information on some of the true legends of African history.
If you are passionate about “Hunting Legends” or “Guns & Rifles” then you have come to the right place. At the moment we recommend three sections of books you may be interested in. Click on any of the following links for more information:
BOOKS ON LEGENDARY GUNS & RIFLES